Research is the key to having a healthy and happy hamster in your home, so we suggest considering our recommendations for supplies – in case you didn’t know, you might even have to purchase a hamster ball. But not everything boils down to getting a cage and hamster food, and you should know that along with owning a pet comes the responsibility of making sure that he or she is always comfortable and in good health.
Hamsters can be impulse buys, especially when they are presents. If you’re planning on giving a hamster to someone, at least make sure that that person is ready for this kind of commitment. We made a list of seven mistakes that first-time hamster parents make and you can check it out below.
Unlike gerbils and guinea pigs who might get very bored unless they share their living space with a companion, the truth is that hamsters can live very well all on their own. Gerbils suffer a lot when they are left alone and actually get depressed, but that never happens to hamsters.
However, if you want to make sure that your little friend never becomes sad or bored, you could try to get a pair of hammies instead of just one. Well, that’s when things begin to be a little complicated. If you have no knowledge about the anatomy of a hamster and the person selling you the pair doesn’t either, you might end up with a male and female situation.
As much as you might not want it to happen, the truth is that hamsters are extremely prolific and they will mate without a doubt and you’ll end up with a litter of hamster babies in no time. And get this — female hamsters can give birth to as many as twenty pups at a time.
People at some pet stores might try to sell you different types of bedding and that’s their job so they have to do it. However, we have to emphasize the need for you to do your research beforehand so that you don’t use the inappropriate kind. Cat litter, corn cob, pine and cedar wood shavings, as well as any type of newspaper or fluffy bedding are the wrong choices when it comes to hamster bedding.
Scented bedding is a no-go, too, but you’ll be able to tell that by the number of times your hamster will start sneezing per day.
Not doing your research about hammy diseases
Although they can be considered somewhat low-maintenance compared to other species, hamsters, like any other type of animal, do have their diseases. Because they are so tiny and frail, every little sign can be a warning that you should take your little rodent friend to the vet right away.
Prevention is always better than cure, so ensuring that your hamster’s living space is clean and that you’re using the right food, accessories, and bedding can go a long way in making sure that your hammy never gets sick. Look up some common diseases online before you get a hamster as you will be able to distinguish between a healthy pet and one that needs to be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible.
Installing an inappropriate exercise wheel
Hamsters get a little excited when it comes to using running wheels and let’s face it, their moves might not be very well coordinated. If you use an inappropriate one, your pet could get hurt. As much of an essential component as it might be when it comes to keeping your hammy healthy and happy, a wheel that’s just too small can end up doing more harm than good.
Forgetting to clean the cage on a regular basis
You can’t expect your hamster to live a long and healthy life if you do not make the effort of cleaning his or her enclosure on a regular basis. Just like any human home, your hamster’s cage needs to be cleaned at least weekly (depending on its size) in a thorough manner and the soiled bedding should be removed every day or every couple of days.
It would be ideal for you to own two cages – in this way, you could transfer your hamster to another when you tend to the task of cleaning the one that he or she prefers. Make sure that you put a small amount of the old bedding back into the cage so that your pet recognizes his or her own smell.
Getting a too small cage
Naturally, you can get a too small cage for any type of animal, not just for hamsters. However, people tend to undermine the importance of physical exercise and space for this little critter. In the wild, hamsters run for several miles every night, so if it’s something that they don’t lack, that has to be space. Get the largest cage that you can afford and you’ll keep your hammy happy all the time.
Some foods are off-limits for hamsters. Once again we have to underline the importance of doing your research before adopting or buying a hamster. For example, acidic foods such as garlic, onion, or citrus fruits can cause indigestion. Normally, a hamster wouldn’t even express an interest in such foods, but it could happen.
It’s also worth noting that the hamster’s mouth can be quite sensitive, so pieces of food that are sharp are prohibited, too. Feed your hamster a mix of fresh vegetables and seeds with small extra amounts of fruit throughout every day and he or she will be happy and healthy.